Well it’s been a month since the election and I am just now feeling like I can talk about it.
The Costa Mesa city council race was one of the few bright spots for me on Tuesday November 8, 2016. We elected a new city council majority. Two of the three candidates that we were campaigning for, John Stephens and Sandy Genis, took the top two spots. While we didn’t win the third seat, neither did the incumbent mayor, Steve Mensinger, and I consider this a sign that Costa Mesans are paying attention. Way to go Costa Mesa!
What happened in Costa Mesa this election gives me hope for our nation in these times. We worked hard to inform people what is happening in our community and many people listened and acted. It took lots of one on one conversations. It took lots of organizing and collaborating among groups who were not alike in every way but willing to lay down differences to focus on the goal of electing a new majority. Costa Mesa gives me hope.
I have put off posting a blog because despite the good that happened in Costa Mesa, when I think about the election, I sit dumbfounded. In the past month the reality of the national election result has hit me in waves and I waiver between utter, numbing disbelief and true despair like I have never experienced.
Some of you had similar reactions and some of you are thinking that perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic or wondering if I’ve lost my faith. Isn’t my hope in God? Don’t I believe that he is in control? Um, yeah, and I still feel scared and angry and deeply sad.
People I care about are afraid and rightfully so. Every day the week after the election I was contacted asking for referrals to an immigration attorney. One woman has a visa that expires in 2017 and she is frightened it won’t be renewed. She is here legally and she is terrified. I feel sad when I think about young people who are in college and thriving in budding careers being stripped of their status if DACA is not renewed. Something we fought so hard for and positively impacted millions could be lost.
Anger. Fear. Sadness.
I feel it all but I cannot stay in this place. I don’t have it all mapped out but here’s what I’m going to do next:
I am going to enter into Advent- a season of waiting in hope. I will practice hoping for the Christ-child to show up again. I will practice peace, which I was reminded recently is different than being polite, it involves truth. I will keep my heart open so it can give and receive generosity.
I am going to listen to our community, our larger national community- While I’ve been listening to my neighbors directly around me, I clearly don’t have my finger on the pulse of the nation so I’m going to seek to hear what it is people are afraid of and what they are hoping for.
I am going to check in with my people often- by my people I mean the ones in my life who feel especially vulnerable in these times like the undocumented single moms and DACA students, my friend who beautifully battles mental illness, and elderly neighbor struggling to navigate the healthcare system. I’m going to stay close to the families and individuals that consistently teach me courage and grace and perseverance.
I am going to speak up for love- in my relationships, on my blog, in public, to my representatives…stay tuned for upcoming blog posts on “What Love Looks Like”
That’s all I’ve got for now. What are your next steps for moving forward in light of where we find ourselves?